At the last night’s meeting, the Council supported a partial exemption from the school facilities surcharge that Prince George’s County applies to new residential developments or redevelopments.

This surcharge covers anticipated increases in public educational services required to accommodate the residents that new development brings.

Inside the Capital Beltway-or if the building is located within a basic or conceptual site plan that abuts an existing or planned mass transit rail station operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)-the surcharge is $9,035 per unit. With proposed 296 units development, Northgate is asking for an exemption of $2.67 million of County School Facilities Surcharge.

College Park’s student housing market is strong. In the past several years, our city has seen nationally recognized, record sales on projects like Landmark and University View, as noted by the Washington Business Journal. For this reason, the Council felt strongly that large financial incentives (waivers and credits) for additional, highly lucrative student housing projects should be scrutinized.

In the letter to the County Council, the Council asked supporting a partial waiver for this project and it may defer to the County Council to determine the amount of the partial waiver. Alternatively, the letter asked the County Council that it may consider allowing the developer to pay the school facility surcharge over a period of time, to minimize the immediate impact on the developer’s financing position.